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Spring Break! How to Help Keep Your Home Safe While You're Gone

Posted: March 13, 2015

Spring break is one of the best times to go on vacation and get away from it all. While enjoying a quick getaway is relaxing, you need to make sure that your house and everything in it are safe. There are many things you can do to help ensure that your home and all of your possessions are safe while you're gone. Here are ten tips on helping to keep your home safe while you're off making the most of spring break.

1. Get a House and Pet-Sitter

Having a house sitter is probably the best way to help ensure that your home is safe while you're gone. If you find someone you can trust, ask them to spend the duration of your trip in your home. Set some guidelines and provide careful directions for any plant or home care. Make it worth their while – give them access to your fridge or pay them -- and they will likely do an even better job of taking care of your home than expected. If you have pets, a house sitter is an especially sound idea. Even if the sitter can’t spend all their time in your home, having someone come by to check on your pet daily may save you some money and provide peace of mind. Boarding can be very expensive for long periods of time and your pet will be less unsettled if someone is in the house with them.

2. Have Someone Come Get Your Mail and Newspaper

A sure sign of someone gone on vacation is the buildup of mail in the mailbox. If a thief sees that someone's mailbox is full, they know that person isn't home. This is another reason to hire a house sitter. The sitter can bring in the mail and newspapers as they arrive.

3. Program Your Lights

Before you leave, buy some timers for the lights in your home. A house that looks lived in will be less likely to be broken into. Many modern timers for light switches can be controlled from your smartphone, giving you control wherever you are.

4. Keep the Grass Trimmed

If you would usually cut the grass during the time you're going to be gone, then you need to have someone stop by and trim the grass. A neighbor or friend will help if you don't already pay a lawn service. If you do pay a lawn service, make sure they plan to come by during the time you'll be gone.

5. Lock Windows and Doors

Locking your doors and windows seems obvious, but many people forget these simple steps. Windows are especially easy to forget. No matter where they are on the house (first or second floor) make sure the windows are shut and locked.

6. Keep Specifics Off Social Media

It's fun to post things about your trip on social media in real time, but it’s a smart idea to keep the pictures and other vacation events quiet until you return. Broadcasting your schedule out to the world will tell the thieves when and where you'll be while they're breaking in.

7. Home Security System

Installing a home security system can solve many problems. If you have a monitored security system, you have someone keeping an eye on your home. While this is a big plus, it doesn't mean that you're going to be safe from all threats. Even if you have a reliable, monitored security system, you need to rely on other measures to stay safe.

8. Let the Police Know

Although this may seem like overkill, notifying the police of your absence isn’t necessarily a bad idea. They may be able to send a patrol car by your house on a regular basis.

9. Remove Your Spare Key

Many people hide a house key outside in case they lose their own key or lock themselves out. That key won’t help you while you’re away, so bring your outdoor spare key indoors and put it away until you return home.

10. Notify Your Landlord

If you rent your home, let your landlord know that you're going to be gone for an extended period of time. The landlord may be able to drive by every so often and make sure that the house is still safe. These are some of the things to do before you leave for your spring break vacation. If you prepare ahead of time, you should be all set to go away and enjoy a much-needed holiday.